Hundreds of people in the North East are waiting for a transplant and more than 100 have died in the region due to a shortage of organs, new figures have revealed.
Information released by NHS Blood and Transplant has shown that there are 216 people in the region waiting for a new organ, and in the last four years 101 people have died while needing a transplant.
The figures have been released to encourage people to discuss their donation wishes to their loved ones during National Transplant Week, which began yesterday.
This year’s theme is Pass It On, stressing the importance of having a conversation about organ donation as well as joining the NHS Organ Donor Register.
To date 568,080 people in the region have so far registered their name on the Organ Donor Register.
Sally Johnson, director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “To help more people we need everyone to talk to their loved ones about their donation wishes.
“We need a transformation in donor and family consent to organ donation because the UK’s family refusal rate remains one of the highest in Europe. For this year’s National Transplant Week, we hope the people will Pass It On, we want everyone to be proud of our donation record in the UK.”
In the Tyne and Wear area 131 people are waiting for a transplant and 66 residents have died due to a shortage of organs in the last four years.
Since April this year, 13 people have benefited from a lifesaving transplant and there are currently 317,440 people from Tyne and Wear on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Meanwhile, there are 85 people in Durham waiting for an organ and 35 people have passed away in the past four years before getting the gift of life.
Since April, 10 people in Durham have benefited from a transplant and there are 250,640 people on the Organ Donor Register.
Now actors David Harewood and Wil Johnson, along with newsreader Kay Burley, feature in a series of short films which inspire people to have a conversation about organ donation with their loved ones.
Also supporting the campaign is entrepreneur Richard Branson, whose film highlights the need for people to sign up to the lifesaving register.
NHS Blood and Transplant is encouraging people in the North East to watch the films at www.youtube.com/transplantweek and talk to those closest to them about their donation wishes.
While 95% of families agree to donation if a loved one has discussed their wishes and is registered on the Organ Donor Register, this drops to only 46% when donation wishes are not known.